Pregnancy is a great time for getting to know yourself better – physically, mentally and emotionally – and that is what yoga is all about. Here is a quick guide to the stages of pregnancy and how a course of yoga sessions or regular massage might help.
Trying to Conceive?
If you are currently trying to conceive, gentle yoga and relaxation can help to balance your menstrual cycle and get your body ready for the exciting project that is pregnancy. Check out the Womb Wisdom page for further information.
Pregnancy is measured from the date of your last period. So, from that date, for 12 or 13 weeks, you are considered to be in the ‘first trimester’. This is a very delicate time and while you may not be ‘showing’ this stage of pregnancy can be the most exhausting with sickness, breathlessness and extreme fatigue all very common symptoms. Unless you already have an established yoga practice, it is recommended to wait until week 14 to begin group yoga classes. Restorative yoga, 1:1 classes or a home practice of guided relaxation might be more appropriate. You are welcome to contact me for advice.
By week 14, your baby has pretty much developed and many of the disturbing symptoms or early pregnancy often (but not always) disappear. Energy returns and you are now ‘blooming’. I encourage you to join the pregnancy yoga class or book regular massage sessions from this point forward. Now the baby is growing rapidly and your body is changing on an almost daily basis. This is a great time to pay attention to your posture, learn about alignment, take care of your feet and do lots of research about labour and birth so you can focus more inwardly in the final stage of your pregnancy.
As your baby grows bigger and heavier inside you, you will be grateful for the side stretches and breathing techniques you’ve picked up at yoga to help you avoid breathlessness and indigestion! Spending plenty of time on all fours at this stage is thought to help the baby get in to the Optimal Foetal Position and establishing a daily practice of guided relaxation has helped many women to prepare for labour and birth calmly and without fear. I invite you to attend a workshop with your birth partner or supporter and create a set of birth intentions together that can be honoured and fulfilled however your labour journey unfolds.
Yes, you read that correctly! Let’s consider the first three months after the birth of your baby as the Fourth Trimester. You will continue to stay pretty much unseparable from your baby, and your body continues to change on a daily basis in response to the physical, mental and emotional demands of postnatal recovery and caring for a newborn. This is the time when many women feel isolated, lonely or overwhelmed by the task at hand and the time when everything you have learned from yoga might just help through some long nights and bleak days. I warmly welcome you to continue classes according to what you have the energy for, and to maintain a home practice of guided relaxation during this time.